Food Allergy Counseling

Food Allergy Counseling
Sloane Miller, MFA, MSW, LMSW, Psychotherapist; Specialist in Food Allergy Management, Speaking At Mylan Specialty / EpiPen Event (© Noel Malcolm 2013)

Monday, February 01, 2016

Interview: Food Allergy Counseling Client in North Carolina, Working with Sloane Miller

Every day, I receive emails asking me how I work as a psychotherapist and
specialist in food allergy management. To answer this, I interviewed some current clients and asked them three simple questions:

What brought you to counseling with Sloane Miller, LMSW?
What did you hope to happen or change?
What changed for you/how are things different after working with Sloane Miller, LMSW?


What brought you to counseling with Sloane Miller, LMSW?

One of our two food allergic daughters was having anxiety and bouts of panic surrounding eating, especially dining out and at school and we didn't feel equipped to help her. 
What did you hope to happen or change?

I was hoping that someone that had the unique situation of being both a counselor and a food allergic individual would better understand how to help and coach her, like Sloane Miller.  We had fantastic counseling locally dealing with panic and anxiety, but the food piece was a challenge for our therapist because it can be so complex; Sloane was able to help.   

What changed for you/how are things different after working with Sloane Miller, LMSW?

Our daughter's stress level has come way down.  She is still extremely cautious, but the anxiety has been greatly reduced.  Most of all, it has brought down stress for our whole family now that our daughter is feeling more confident with her decisions and our decisions with regard to her food.  Also, we have learned to better prepare ourselves with food in case she is not feeling comfortable.


Thank you for sharing, Nikki, mom of two allergic children

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Update 2016: Olive Oil, Fraud, Food Allergies

Olive oil is my main cooking fat, baking, too and I even use it as a moisturizer, especially in winter when I get eczema (works wonders and no side effects), but how do I know that I’m really getting real olive oil? This isn’t something I would have questioned a decade ago, not until these stories started popping up.
2008 NPR - "Italian extra-virgin olive oil has become so lucrative that adulterated olive oil has become the biggest source of agricultural fraud problems in the European Union."
2008 Allergic Girl Blog story - "We came across cans of olive oil that were for sale in Connecticut that had, after testing, these other oils in there — peanut oil, soy oil, hazelnut oil..."

And last week, January 2016, CBS did another story on olive oil fraud yet again.

So unless you’re getting your EVOO straight for the mill’s tap (which I did do in Southern France; incredible cloudy miraculous special EVOO), what’s an Allergic Girl or Guy or Family to do? For me, I found one purveyor that I like and that is safe for me, Lucini. I asked them how do they ensure safety and this is their reply.


California Olive Ranch, the producer of both California Olive Ranch and Lucini Italia brands of extra virgin olive oil, prides itself on producing and selling only the highest quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Here are a just a few of the steps we take to ensure the quality and authenticity of our oil:

  • All of our oil is California grown.  We own three ranches (totaling about 5,000 acres) and work with over 60 area farmers who grow to our specifications on long term contracts
  • We mill all of the oil sold under our brand at our facility in Artois, California
  • We store all oil in nitrogen flushed, stainless steel tanks in a climate controlled environment to ensure quality
  • Our oil is certified as Extra Virgin by the California Olive Oil council
  • Our investment in traceability ensures we can trace the history of each bottle we sell to the tank it was stored in, and ultimately the fields that contributed to the tank

Lucini Italia Brand
  • Every bottle of Lucini contains only 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil, and only that. We, along with our Italian family producers, take great pride in the quality of our products, as well as their authenticity
  • The olives used for Lucini extra virgin olive oil are 100% Italian olives, harvested and crushed within 24 hours for optimal quality
  • We store all Lucini oil on our producers’ estates in Italy in nitrogen flushed, stainless steel tanks in a climate controlled environment to ensure quality
  • All lots of Lucini extra virgin olive oil are tested for quality and authenticity and pesticides in strict accordance to exceed both IOC and EC regulations
  • We test each lot (at least) once quarterly at our lab in California for quality to ensure it matches our strict quality specifications, as well as conduct a secondary reference check for authenticity and pesticides. This is to verify the results provided continue to be accurate
  • Each of our family producers have traceability capabilities which are tested annually to confirm traceability from the bottle to their supply
  • Each of our family producers are randomly audited throughout the year by the EC for compliance with their regulations on quality, authenticity, labeling, and traceability 


Contact your favorite EVOO about your needs.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Allergic Girl Book Event: Sloane Miller & Eleni's New York FREE event March 12, 2016

Eleni's nut-free color me cookies

Allergic Girl, Sloane Miller, LMSW & Eleni's New York FREE event March 12th from 9:30am to 10:30am - email to RSVP.
From the Eleni’s New York press release:
Come to Eleni’s New York store in Chelsea Market on Saturday, March 12th from 9:30am to 10:30am to join Sloane Miller renowned author of Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies (Wiley, 2011) and decorate St. Patrick's Day cookies with edible ink markers, all peanut and tree nut free.

You can also buy a copy of Sloane’s book Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies (Wiley, 2011) and have it signed.

Admission is free but seats are limited and RSVPs are required by February 29, 2016. 

Please email to reserve your seats.



Monday, January 18, 2016

Recipe: Chocolate Cake with Blackberry Buttercream, Nut-Free, Gluten-Free

Namaste Foods kindly sent me some samples of things to try. Namaste is a top 8 free food company and they have their own dedicated facility, more about them on the Namaste Foods website.

I use the Namaste Foods spice cake mix and make all kinds of variations - here’s my cinnamon spice swirl and pumpkin spice cake with marshmallow frosting recipes. Everyone loves those cakes and they say, "Oh wow, this doesn’t taste allergen-friendly or gluten-free!" But they are and I can make the Namaste Foods  spice cake and serve it with confidence knowing it’s safe for me and my guests will love.

So recently, Namaste Foods sent me their chocolate cake mix to try. My review is: it’s decent. A little bouncy, a little bland, not fantastic, but okay. I gave it to taste testers who do not have specialized diets and they liked it and said the same thing I said: bouncy texture, chocolate taste was bland, but they gobbled it down. One reviewer said: "Sloane baked a magical and delicious cake and wow!"

Namaste Foods is safe; tremendous plus! And very easy to make which is another plus. Two rounds or 24 cakes come in one package, which is a great deal; another plus.  And as a blank canvas to create culinary, food allergy safe treats, the chocolate cake mix works; another plus. 

It doesn’t take much to elevate something from yummy to Oh My Gawd. A few days ago I cooked up blackberries that weren’t really tasty to eat raw into a quick “jam” (quick jams are so easy: washed fruit, sugar and lemon juice, cooked until cooked.) I thought, hmm how about if I added this preserve to buttercream frosting? And voila genius born.

If you like raspberries and chocolate as a pairing, it’s like that, but deeper. The blackberries turn the frosting a beautiful, deep pink; some of the fruit was still uncooked and made the frosting juicy with drupelets that pop in your mouth (no dearies, I didn’t strain it; I like to taste fruit!) and I created this.

I made a gorgeous blackberry buttercream frosting and that turned a plain, safe, allergen-friendly chocolate cake into something really special. This isn’t so much a recipe as a concept: take something that’s a plain canvas and elevate it with ingredients that are safe for you, delicious to your palate and make something beautiful.


Blackberry Buttercream
1 stick organic butter, softened
1 box Dominos confectioners sugar
½ cup blackberry preserves (not jam)

Whip the softened butter first (I do by hand, work those muscles!). Add the sugar cup by cup and keep whipping. After cup two, pour in ¼ cup of the preserves, then alternate with cups of sugar and preserves. Taste along the way, the fun part.

Note: You are looking to add moisture, like macerated berries or pureed fruit, not anything with gelatin so not jam!

Other flavor ideas, lemon, orange, other berries, cinnamon, coffee. Go crazy, allergen-free bakers!


Thank you Namaste Foods for the many delicious mixes and goods your company creates for everyone!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Interview: Food Allergy Counseling Client in South Florida, Working with Sloane Miller

Every day, I receive emails asking me how I work as a psychotherapist and
specialist in food allergy management. To answer this, I interviewed some current clients and asked them three simple questions:

What brought you to counseling with Sloane Miller, LMSW?
What did you hope to happen or change?
What changed for you/how are things different after working with Sloane Miller, LMSW?


From a South Florida Mom of Two:

What brought you to counseling with me, Sloane Miller, LMSW? 

I am a mother of two small children with food allergies (7 & 9).  My son is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts and my daughter is allergic to milk and egg. Although we have been aware of their allergies for years, managing them has always been a source of stress, worry, guilt and concern. I initially contacted Sloane regarding her concierge services because my daughter and I were planning a trip to New York to visit the American Girl Store, but before Sloane and I were able to meet to plan our trip, my daughter experienced her second bout with anaphylaxis.  She was hospitalized for two days and the aftermath of the experience left our family reeling. My son was fearful and experienced stress and behavioral issues after seeing his sister sick, my daughter no longer trusted her father because he was the person who accidently gave her the wrong ice cream, I was overwhelmed after having to give my daughter the epi pen and watch her struggle and my husband felt an enormous amount of guilt regarding his mistake. I knew right away that we were not equipped to handle this on our own.

What did you hope to happen or change? 

There were several issues and topics we were looking to change.
  • Support to educate my husband and family members around the seriousness of food allergies in a way that would be well received.
  • Helping the kids manage their stress without adding additional stress
  • Helping my husband and I partner as advocates for the kids, our communication had broken down completely.
  • Improved relationships with their doctors, teachers and other support people

What changed for you/how are things different after working with me?

The biggest change for me personally was my ability to properly manage risk. After my daughter’s reaction I was paralyzed and everything around me seemed like an overwhelming risk. I was afraid to leave her alone, afraid to send her to school, afraid to try new foods, afraid to do anything. Sloane worked with me to ensure that I was armed with education, training and tools to properly assess risks. She also empowered me to understand that it was ok to say no if I was uncomfortable; to know my limits.

For my husband and our parenting, Sloane helped us both become advocates for the kids. Often in food allergy homes one parent is the quarterback and the other parent follows their lead. But in life and death situations everyone needs to be equipped to “call the play”. Sloane helped us partner together and rebuild the trust that was lost.

Lastly, Sloane gave us tools to help the kids express their fears and concerns without judgment. She enabled us to speak to them in their language and allowed them to uncover feelings or emotions they weren’t able to communicate through exercises like drawing and storytelling.

Thank you, South Florida Mom of Two!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Recipe: 3 ingredient baked ziti: nut-free, gluten-free

After my genius Cinnamon Swirl Iced Spiced Loaf idea, I had a hankering for an easy baked ziti. Something I could make, casserole-style, for the holiday season when stores would be closed and, frankly, I wanted to laze around and not do major cooking. So, I invented the three ingredient pasta bake.

OK. "I invented" is an exaggeration but I did recall reading somewhere (maybe The Kitchn) that you could make a pasta bake without cooking the pasta first. Oh, the days of boiling lasagna, to al dente, cooling, layering it and then adding the filling, and waiting another hour for the whole thing to bake, are a thing of the past. And you don’t need special dried, par-cooked pasta like Ronzoni would have you believe.

I used dried pasta straight from the bag, pre-made sauce and fresh mozz slices, and within 5 minutes of assembly and 45 minutes of baking, dinner and lunch for the next two days was done-o! 

*I used the brands that were safe for me, use whatever’s best for your dietary needs.* 

This is a small casserole; I used a 1.5 quart dish, all of the sauce and two thirds of the pasta. It made 4 meals for me (plus side salads and fruit). It has endless variations. The main trick is to have more sauce, more than you think you need, as the pasta has to cook in the sauce. 

Got to it you easy, breezy, allergen-friendly chefs!

 3 Ingredient Baked Ziti: Tree Nut-Free, Gluten-Free

1 bag 12 ounces Tinkyada Organic Rice Penne 
1 25.5 ounce jar Lucini Rustic Tomato Sauce 
6-8 ounces of slices of fresh Belgioioso mozzerella 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a 1.5 quart casserole dish with a lid (you can also tent with aluminum foil), spoon in some sauce and swirl over bottom. Add a layer of dried pasta, cover with more sauce and layer one third of the cheese. Repeat these layers ending with sauce and cheese. 

Use up all the sauce, you'll need it. And you will use only two thirds of a 12 ounce bag of Tinkyada. Make sure all the pasta is submerged under sauce as any pasta left poking out will be crunchy and not in a yummy way but in an uncooked, this hurts my teeth way.

Cover with the lid and place in the middle of the oven. And walk away. Read a book. Draw a picture. Have a short nap.

It will start to bubble and be fragrant with wonderfulness around 45 minutes. Take a taste, make sure the pasta is cooked through. If not, pop back in for a few minutes. 

Serve while piping hot with a fresh salad and some veggies. Try not to make this every week. I dare you. 


Monday, January 04, 2016

Food Allergy Counseling: Hosting A Birthday Party When You Have Food Allergies And Everyone Has Other Needs, Too

This year I hosted 26 friends and family for my birthday party. We were a group with tree nut allergies, peanut allergies, one vegan, four Kosher diners (each with different requirements), and dairy, wheat and egg intolerances. It may sound like a lot to coordinate but you can make it all happen, safely and easily.  I talk about this in my book, Allergic Girl, as well.

It comes down to communication:
Communicating with yourself - what do I want?
Communicating with you guests - what do they need?
Enacting that in an easy, simple way that is safe and fun for all.


1. I wanted some delicious BBQ and chocolate cake for dessert. I started there. I remember that Hill Country did BBQ, I had eaten there once with no issues. Also recently, I had been there for a social event (not dining) but did meet a GM who said he’d happily walk me through everything whenever I wanted to dine there. So, I contacted him and went in at a non-busy time and had an hour long sit-down. We went over ingredients, kitchen processes and how my food would be prepared. I then talked to one of the chefs, who cut off a slice of some incredibly succulent brisket. Pictured here. 

I tasted it and thought, oh yes, this will be perfect. And no allergens present. 


2. I built up my menu based on my meat-and-cake concept of the perfect birthday meal.

Brisket and short ribs with a dry rub of salt, pepper and cayenne 
Rotisserie chicken (commercially made)

Corn (butter on side)
Baked beans (vegan, cans kept for ingredient labels) 
Martin’s soft potato rolls (with labels)
BBQ sauce on the side (with labels)
organic mesclun salad with Lucini olive oil, lemon juice salt and pepper

Chocolate cake - commercially made
Cookie pie - Sloane-made (nut-free, gluten-free)
Chocolate cupcakes with buttercream - Sloane-made(nut-free, gluten-free)
Fresh strawberries and red grapes
Top 8 allergen free chocolate bites, kindly provided by Pascha


3. I emailed everyone the confirming details of the event and menu, with a caveat to let me know about any restrictions or special requests and to not bring in outside food. This last request is a crucial one, because, who knew, but people *love* to bring non-sanctioned food treats, even to an Allergic Girl's party. This simple reminder to not bring outside food cuts down on nutty, fishy treats walking through my door and hurt feelings. 


4. I then privately messaged everyone who I knew at the outset had a special need or request, told them what on the menu was safe for them, what wasn't and asked if they'd like/need something different than what I was planning. (No one did.) Since these were many of my bestie besties and their kids, I knew everyone's everything but I wanted to make double/triple sure that I had their details correctly.


5. When I served the menu, buffet style, I pointed out all of the dishes to everyone, and ingredients and labels and asked them to be mindful not to swap spoons between dishes.


It was all so delicious, one, people still ask me where I bought the BBQ, and the recipe for my cakes and two, I forgot to take pictures! No one had any issues with any of the meal and all was wonderfully well! Such an easy menu and everyone (tree nut allergic, peanut allergic, vegans, Kosher, and dairy, wheat and egg intolerances) enjoyed.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Recipe: Cinnamon Swirl Iced Spiced Loaf, Nut-Free, Gluten-Free

A little slice of cinnamon swirl iced spice cake heaven

This weekend I got it into my head that I wanted something cinnamon swirled. I realized I had a few boxes of Namaste Foods spice cake mix in my cupboard and that would be an easy, allergen-free base. (I buy Namaste Foods spice cake mixes by the half dozen come fall, for occasions such as these.) I did a quick survey of cinnamon swirled recipes on Google and came up with this recipe below, adapted from Gluten-Free On a Shoestring.

I served some to my musical improv teammates and they went ga-ga over it: “It’s so moist. So delicious. How did you do this?” And none of them are food allergy free. It's that good. 

This recipe is easy (slightly genius) and it’s quickly become a new classic in my home. I hope it will in yours, too!


A vein of cinnamon-sugar. Oh my!

Cinnamon Swirl Iced Spiced Loaf, Nut-Free, Gluten-Free
Recipe adapted from Gluten-Free On a Shoestring

For the cake batter:
One box of Namaste Foods spice cake mix 
Make according to the directions

For the cinnamon-sugar mixture:
1/2 cup granulated sugar (I use sugar in the raw)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For the glaze:
1 cup Domino confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon Lactaid milk (you can use any kind of milk, or OJ or even water), plus more by the 1/4 teaspoonful as needed

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line loaf with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
Make the Namaste Foods spice cake mix using eggs, water and oil as per the box directions. 

In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar, mix well and set aside. 

Pour a generous half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread into an even layer with a spatula. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top. Pour the remaining batter on top followed by the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture. 

Using a knife at an angle perpendicular to the bottom of the loaf pan, carefully swirl the batter in all directions - I made several zig-zags. The top of the batter will look uneven; it’ll sort itself out whilst baking, don't you fret.

Place the loaf pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 45 – 50 minutes at 350°F or until an inserted knife comes out clean. I turn my loaf pan at the half way baking mark to ensure an even bake.

Remove the loaf from the oven and allow to cool in the pan on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, using the parchment paper, remove the loaf gently from the loaf pan and place on the wire rack, undisturbed, to cool completely.

While the cake loaf is cooling, assemble the glaze. In a small bowl, combine the confectioners sugar and milk. Mix well, until a thick paste forms. Add more milk by the quarter teaspoonful, mixing to combine well, until the glaze falls off the spoon in a thick, pourable glaze. 

Drizzled iced spiced cake

At about 30 minutes, the loaf will still be warm and it’s time drizzle the glaze over the loaf in a back and forth motion creating the beautiful striations you see above.

Slice in generous, thick slices and share!

Monday, December 07, 2015

Interview: Kyle Dine & Friends Food Allergy Education for Schools

I can’t say enough good things about my friend, colleague and fellow food allergy advocate Kyle Dine. You know Kyle. But did you know that he has this incredible new project called Kyle Dine & Friends Food Allergy Education for Schools? I had a chance to ask him some questions about his new project and his inspiration. Read on and then order his DVD for yourself and your school!


Allergic Girl: What is this new project  - "Kyle Dine & Friends" Food Allergy Education for Schools DVD about?

Kyle Dine: It's an allergy awareness video that is aimed at children filled with songs, puppets and games. It's a two-disc DVD set aimed at kids ages 4-7 & 8-11 respectively, with age-appropriate content. The video is a mix of entertainment and education that gets important messages across while increasing support, understanding and empathy. 

AG: Who is "Kyle Dine & Friends" Food Allergy Education for Schools geared towards/who is your ideal audience?

KD: The ideal audience is any elementary school classroom. I've received wonderful reviews from teachers who have shown the video to their class. Students (both allergic and non-allergic) were engaged, clapping along and participating in the follow-up quiz at the end. 

AG: What do you hope "Kyle Dine & Friends" Food Allergy Education for Schools will accomplish?

KD: A general understanding about food allergies, and support for the children who have them. I hear so often that peer support can be the biggest influence in a child's perspective of their own food allergies and risk-management. This is the video that I would have LOVED to exist when I was a kid. I was too shy to tell my entire class about the ins and outs about allergies. A video featuring a guy with a guitar, hilarious puppets and fun games would have helped a ton.

AG: How did this project come about?

KD: Schools eager to have more allergy awareness for their students. I performed live food allergy awareness assemblies at 100 schools during the last school year. It's encouraging to see that type of interest in education, but an insane amount of travel for one roaming musician/educator! Schools are looking for a "just press play" solution to a growing issue within schools. This video can reach more students than I could ever while criss-crossing the continent.

AG: How is this project different that what you've done before?

KD: This project has been a complete community effort and I am so proud of the number of people and organizations who were a part of it. The video was funded by the allergy community through Kickstarter. The educational themes were fine-tuned by an online working group of 125 allergy advocates. The final script was reviewed by FARE, Food Allergy Canada, Anaphylaxis & Allergy Australia and the Anaphylaxis Campaign (U.K.). Additional funding and distribution support came through various allergy-aware sponsors as well as KFA and FAACT. This project brought one very large community together because they all believe in the importance of educating children about food allergies. I'm proud to give back by offering 20% of the DVD sales back to food allergy non-profits. 

AG: Is there anything else included with the video?

KD: One of the neatest features is that the audio is fully dubbed in Spanish, French and German. This will help raise awareness with ESL schools and in foreign markets too. There is also a quiz within the bonus features to reinforce key messages. I'm also happy to partner with Food Allergy Canada in creating a teacher resource guide which is available on the video's website.

AG: What is your songwriting process?

KD: I first think what is the message that children with food allergies need to hear to help them stay safe and positive. Songs like "Never Keep a Reaction a Secret", "Able to Read a Label" and "Stop! Please Don't Feed Me" are examples. Music, lyrics and melody seem to just flow from there. I often joke that while many musicians write from the heart, I write from the immune system!

AG: Where do you find your inspiration?

KD: Kids with food allergies. I remember how tough it was growing up dealing with exclusion, teasing and feeling like a burden because of something I couldn't control. Knowing that life gets easier when non-allergic children simply receive allergy education is all the motivation I need to give them the facts in a fun and engaging way.

AG: Where can I purchase this for my school?

KD: You can purchase at and donate to a non-profit, or


As always, thank you Kyle for your hard work, dedication and overall excellent allergy dude-ness!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Food Allergy Counseling: Free Webinar, Food Allergy Confidence During The Holidays 2015

Here is the webinar's permalink and you can watch at any time: Kids With Food Allergies about Food Allergy Confidence During The Holidays.


Join me for this FREE webinar by Kids With Food Allergies about Food Allergy Confidence During The Holidays.

And you may submit your questions in advance on the registration form

From Kids With Foods Allergies website.


RSVP:  Reserve your seat by registering

WHEN: Tuesday, November 3, 2015

TIME: 1 PM – 2 PM Eastern time

WHERE: Your computer, iOS or Android device

The holiday season is coming! You may have anxiety about food-centered celebrations, school events and coping with extended family who may not understand. Whether you are new to food allergies or a veteran, we could all use some strategies about how to handle the holiday season with grace and confidence.

Join Kids With Food Allergies and Sloane Miller, MFA, MSW, LMSW, for our webinar, Food Allergy Confidence at the Holidays, on Tuesday, November 3 at 1 pm Eastern.

Ms. Miller, a food allergy counselor, author, and founder of Allergic Girl Resources, Inc., will cover:

Understanding your food allergy diagnosis
Communicating your needs to those around you
Forming supportive relationships to help you cope
Mourning the loss of the holidays of your childhood
Reframing what the holidays mean now
Connecting with the joy of the season

We will record this webinar. If you cannot attend the live event, we will email you a link to the recording a few days after the event.

You may submit your questions in advance on the registration form.

By registering, you agree to receive email communications from Kids With Food Allergies.
We thank Mylan for providing an unrestricted sponsorship of this webinar.

About Our Speaker

A licensed social worker, Sloane Miller was born with food allergies and developed asthma and environmental allergies as a child. In 2006, she started the food allergy blog Please Don't Pass the Nuts. She is the author of Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well With Food Allergies. She is founder and president of Allergic Girl Resources, Inc., a consultancy devoted to food allergy awareness. She consults with private clients, the healthcare, food and hospitality industries, government and not-for-profit advocacy organizations. Ms. Miller earned her Master of Social Work at the New York University’s Silver School of Social Work and her Master of Fine Arts in Writing and Literature at Bennington College.